Lock Haven University students and staff recently had their research published in the International Journal of Nursing and Healthcare Research (IJNHR). The IJNHR is an online journal that publishes research from the areas of healthcare and nursing.
The research article titled "Lessons Learned as a Contact Tracer at a State University in Central Pennsylvania: Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19 Virus on a University Campus," was authored by McCartney Register, Payton Bell and Madison Dura, LHU students; Beth McMahon, former COVID-19 coordinator and professor emerita at LHU; and Sherry Moore, assistant director of human resources at LHU.
The article, published in the journal on Nov. 8, 2021, details the lessons learned in investigating 113 positive COVID-19 cases, 2,310 COVID tests and the tracing of more than 1,000 close contacts at the time the article was written.
It also explained the measures taken by the university to mitigate the virus, such as on-campus mandatory entry testing and bi-weekly randomized testing for faculty, staff and students; engaging in rapid response to positive cases through case investigation; contact tracing and enforcement of appropriate isolation and quarantine arrangements; providing alternative housing opportunities when needed; and other ways the university navigated the virus on campus.
The article also included information about percentages of the positive cases who reported having symptoms and what the most common symptoms were, as well as positivity rates and timeframes and other data collected by the team.
"COVID-19 has had such a major impact on every student's college experience," said Register, member of the university's COVID Response Team and one of the student authors. "The experiences I've had contact tracing and writing this research paper have shaped my college experience and helped prepare me for a future working in healthcare. I am honored to be part of a team that works so diligently to mitigate the spread of the virus."
McMahon said the LHU team really stepped up during a difficult time to investigate and fight the virus - especially in the early stages of the pandemic when little was known about the virus.
"This took courage and a remarkable investment of energy during challenging and uncertain times," McMahon said. "The findings of our research provided valuable insights into the early detection, treatment and methods of prevention on a college campus."
The team members were trained as COVID-19 case investigators and contact tracers and conducted real-time research concerning hundreds of positive COVID-19 cases and more than 1,000 close contacts, according to McMahon.
"Our findings provided a better understanding of how to break the chain of COVID-19 infection; enhance the safety, health and academic experience of the university population; and reduce the viral spread in surrounding communities," McMahon added. "Our research adds to the ongoing body of knowledge that demonstrates that appropriate and immediate response to positive COVID-19 cases is key in mitigating and slowing the spread of the virus."
For more information about the IJNHR, visit ijnhrjournal.com.
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